After recently learning, researching, and then debunking some widely believed myths that are actually totally false, I was inspired to investigate more supposed "truths" that I could pick apart like a crow.
FOX / Via giphy.com
Most are from u/Sera0Sparrow's original thread, but I dug around to find a couple more myths that stood out to me.
So, here are even more accepted "facts" that are so false:
1."That bulls get angered by the color red. They are color blind, so it really makes no difference. It's the waving of the cape that gets to them."
2."Getting caught in the rain can cause a cold."
Hulu / Via giphy.com
A cold is caused by a virus, not the weather. What's actually happening is that certain cold viruses, like rhinovirus, thrive in low temperatures. That's why they spread more easily during the winter, or when it's raining. So you can catch a cold when it's raining, but not because it's raining. Even more reasons to wear a mask, or not kiss strangers in the rain (unless you're in a rom-com!).
3."That it's illegal to film someone in public. It is absolutely legal to film a person without their consent in a public place."
The Orchard / Via giphy.com
In the States, it's generally legal to record someone, either through video or audio, if they're somewhere they don't have a "reasonable expectation of privacy." If you're in a public bathroom or your own home, for example, there is an expectation of privacy. But when we're out in public, people aren't necessarily entitled to that. And that's why we have the gift of that infamous Apple store Vine.
There's always exceptions, but if you ever have a meltdown out in the streets and end up on r/PublicFreakout, just know that it's likely law-compliant.
4."That someone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. We expect people to be successful using this as an example, but this phrase was coined as an impossibility."
Today, the phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is used to convey self-reliance and advice to pull yourself out of poverty, particularly when it's tossed around in politics. However, its modern usage is incredibly ironic since the phrase was first used in 1836 to convey the impossible task of lifting yourself over a fence by pulling your bootstraps. This will help you put your boots on, but not jump a fence.
As the phrase was passed on, its humorous intent was lost and it began to be taken literally around the early twentieth century, just a few years ahead of the Great Depression. How convenient.
5."That you can use a defibrillator (paddles) to restart a stopped heart. You do regular CPR for that. The paddles are meant to shock an arhythmic heartbeat back onto a normal rhythm. They won’t work on a heart that has flatlined."
Fox / Via giphy.com
Automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, send an electric shock to an erratically-beating heart and, ideally, interrupt an irregular rhythm so that the heart can beat at a normal pace. An AED automatically determines whether a victim's heart needs an electric shock or not, so if the person's heart shows a flatline — no electrical activity — and if they are not breathing, the defibrillator will not deliver a current. To be clear, you should still attempt to use the pads on someone that is unconscious (no heartbeat and not breathing) after immediately calling 911 and initiating CPR. However, if the pads do not deliver a current, that person needs CPR and cannot be shocked back to life. The defibrillator will not even allow it.
So why does this myth still persist today? Hollywood, baby!
6."That the stock market represents the economy. There is no correlation between fluctuations in stock indices and GDP."
7."That ancient humans were very stupid, which for some reason to this day has been insanely persistent."
8."Swimming after eating isn't dangerous, nor does it cause cramps. But waiting 30 minutes or an hour makes it much less likely for kids to vomit in the pool."
9."It's not true that corsets were deathtraps. Most women didn’t mind wearing them!"
We've all heard it (and I'm guilty of perpetuating it): corsets were so tight that fainting couches were a necessity, so Victorian women could pass out on them. To quote Maury Povich, "that was also a lie." Those "fainting couches" were just daybeds, and that misnomer wasn't used until well after the Victorian era. Besides that, corsets were working garments, so they morphed with the people who wore them and came with built-in flexibility. Even working-class women wore corsets, so they needed to be functional. There were even corsets for cycling.
It's safe to say that corsets are in their Reputation era, and that the misinformation about them is rooted in later society ridiculing women fashion as a desperate attempt to attract male attention. As if!
10."Is it too soon to talk about how GMOs are actually safe and beneficial to sustainable food chains? Or is that still a touchy subject?"
Nickelodeon / Via giphy.com
Did you also watch Degrassi: The Next Generation? When Emma boycotted the school cafeteria for serving GMO foods (iconic) my adolescent self was very inspired. Turns out that we were both misguided.
Not only are GMO foods regulated by three different federal agencies to ensure safety in the States, but the arguments against genetically modified foods are (consciously) packaged in complicated language to discourage people from reading, and realizing, that these foods are modified with proteins and bacteria that are already found in nature. In fact, it's because of genetic engineering that certain fruits and vegetables are able to continue being grown after almost being wiped out by viruses transmitted by insects and other pests, like Hawaiian papayas in the 90s.
Critics of GMOs blast genetic engineering as dangerous and random, but ignore "the far greater randomness of mutation in nature and the far greater imprecision of traditional breeding." So stick that in your genetically modified apple pipe and smoke it.
11."The Red Scare wasn't so much about 'rooting out subversive communists' as it was about weakening labor and de-segregation movements. And boy, did it work."
12."Women get 'looser' the more sex they have."
Besides being blatantly misogynistic, this is totally false. There is absolutely no evidence that sex causes a vagina to loosen up over time. Someone with a vagina having sex for the first time may cause a slight stretch in the hymen, the thin membrane around the vagina, which may make the vagina feel slightly more open. However, this is totally normal. And healthy.
During sexual arousal, the muscles of the vagina relax and will temporarily open up before, during, and after sex to help penetration, but will return to its usual shape. Also, every vagina is different. Parts of any body evolve as our age, weight, and health changes with time, not because someone's having more sex than you.
13."There used to be a thing in Korea about 'Fan Death', a belief that a running fan would eventually deprive a room of oxygen and kill any occupants in there, if it was left running too long. The belief still somewhat exists today, and all fans sold there were usually equipped with an automatic safety shut-off timer mechanism."
14."The belief that the Sun is yellow. Actually, the Sun is white. If you look at it during the day (not a good idea), you'll see that it's white."
15."That poor posture leads to body pain. That’s actually rarely the case."
Which ones surprised you the most? What are some commonly believed "facts" that you've recently learned are totally false? Let me know in the comments!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity. #5 in this article has been updated to be more clear that AEDs will determine whether or not someone has a shockable rhythm.